cooling loft area
I have a 3 story log home - finished basement, main living area, and loft.
The 3rd level loft area has a bathroom and 2 bedrooms - each of which has a supply and return vent. Heating and cooling these 3 rooms is not a problem. The attic area is entirely over these 3 rooms.
My problem is in the loft area itself. It's basically a 30' x 15' open area with a vaulted ceiling. I have 2 ceiling fans that hang above the main living area on the opposite side of the loft. I also have 2 ceiling fans hanging from the ceiling in the loft. I've tried all of the different combinations of running the fans but I can't keep the loft below 80F in the afternoons in the summer months. There are no supply or return vents in the loft area so I rely on trying to get the cool air from downstairs up to the loft with the ceiling fans.
In the winter it's not a problem as I just throw some wood in the stove and the heat rises up to the loft. It stays nice and warm in the winter.
I was thinking that some type of exhaust fan might help. If I put a regular old attic fan in the attic, would that serve to lower the temperature in the loft? Or would I do better by putting some type of exhaust fan in the loft ceiling rather than the attic?
Why weren't any supply runs cut into that area? That should have been anticipated. Is the system sized to add a couple in there? I doubt an attic fan would do anything in the living area. Where are you? Anchorage or El Paso?? That would be info you might want to share...
Exhaust air is a bad idea.
Adding supplies will help in cooling,but they will over heat it in heating.Zoning system with dampers could solve it.
During construction (HVAC installation) a properly sized return should've been placed near the ceiling in the open loft area IMO. This would not only allow your system in air conditioning mode to pull the heated air from the loft back down to the air handler and cool it off, but it would also allow you to circulate the heated air near the ceiling around to the entire home.
What to do after the fact? That all depends on whether there is access to install a dedicated and properly sized return ductwork and register to the loft ceiling area. This might take some inventive modifications and a bit of carpentry work to cover up the work done but it's the best option for the long term.
The ceiling fan(s) in the loft can be set to blow down during the summer, on continuously and the blower on your air conditioning system set to run continuously. This will blow the warm air back down to the main floor, mix it with the cooled air, and get it where hopefully the returns down there can return the mixed air and cool it off.
Heated air rises and requires work/energy to get it to go down.
Use the biggest hammer you like, pounding a square peg into a round hole does not equal a proper fit.